National Geographic : 1951 Jul
112 High Voltage Engineering Corp. Block-headed "Mr. Cruikshank" Plays a Brainy Role in Cranial X-rays A stand-in for living man, Mr. Cruikshank has helped solve problems relating to X-ray treatment of deep brain tumors. His wooden noggin, sectioned to hold film, has the same X-ray-absorption properties as the human head. He poses before a two-million-volt X-ray generator in Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His name, picked at random, has no special significance. boats, tenders, mobile dry docks, and many more. Our "five-ocean" Navy mustered more than 49,000 wooden craft! Builders laid 120,000 board feet of teak to deck each of our largest battleships. (A board foot is a piece of lumber one foot long, one foot wide, and an inch thick.) The flight deck of every big Essex-class aircraft carrier was surfaced with two and a third acres of edge grain Douglas fir three inches thick. Wood Boosted Ersatz Output Shortages "put the squeeze" on Germany to make all possible use of wood. Hitler's legions ate chocolate candy sweetened with wood sugar, and ersatz bacon which their laboratory Merlins conjured from wood chips. Germany used food yeast from wood to for tify cattle fodder. Soldiers mixed the yeast in spaghetti sauces, biscuit dough, and soups, and sprinkled it on salads. German scientists made synthetic tires from alcohol derived from wood. Wood gas drove trucks. Trees yielded lubricants and explo sives. Nazi troops wore "wood wool" clothing. The ill wind of war blew good to our peace time economy in a rich legacy of wood-fabri cating techniques. But the Federal Govern- ment, colleges, and private research groups still put wood through endless tryouts, seek ing new ways to make it serve. Leader in U. S. wood research is the Depart ment of Agriculture's Forest Products Labo ratory at Madison, Wisconsin. There I saw, smelled, and touched wood in every imaginable guise, from sap-scented logs and planks to paper pulp, alcohol, wood-and-resin lami nates, and plywood. I threaded a fantastic workshop where in tent laboratory men bent, twisted, hammered, boiled, baked, crushed, dissected, squeezed, burned, soaked, dropped, and stretched wood to test its mettle. In a fireproof annex I watched workers de liberately start a fire! Within the building they had erected a section of a house, com plete with shutters, doors, draperies, rugs, furniture, and pictures. The lifelike "props" assured a realistic experiment. At a signal, trained "firebugs" touched off an over-full wastebasket in the dummy house, just as if a careless guest had tossed in an un extinguished cigarette. I stood with observers who studied external thermometers and record ing devices as the blaze spread. Other instru ments had been placed within.